Robin Williams: “What Will Your Verse Be?”

Robin Williams

Oh, Robin Williams.

Say it ain’t so.

Driving home from work, just an hour or so ago, radio personality Michael Berry delivered in a monotone, the news of comic great Robin Williams’ passing, likely due to his own hand.

I’m sure like many, I said aloud to myself, “No, no, no!”

My heart sank at the loss of such a light.

Goofy Robin Williams

Especially in a world that can seem darker by the day.

You never know what folks are going through.

Fighting a hard battle

So needless.  So preventable.

I never even laid eyes on the actor, apart from his roles on the big screen.

So why has his death sounded such a chord with me?

Answer.  Depression touches EVERYONE, whether personally or peripherally.

It’s an insidious, wretched disease that takes prisoners from the inside out.

And that’s the hardest part.

This I know well from personal experience.  And from a family directly impacted by suicide.

Above all that I’ve experienced, depression is the one thing you battle completely on your own.  Family and friends are VITAL when they know you well enough to read you and ~ while they can’t make it stop ~ come alongside you through that “dark night of the soul.”

Your silent presence can speak volumes to someone suffering from depression. Words aren’t necessary, and sometimes even get in the way.

If there’s a takeaway from this tragedy, it’s that education about depression is the best support you can provide.

It’s not a phase one goes through, or a mental malady with a particular shelf life.

A few tips:

  • Depression is a disease, just like cancer or diabetes
  • It’s not a character fault, or a sign of weakness
  • It takes time to overcome, and great patience from friends and family
  • It’s very treatable
  • Judgment has no place on the road to recovery {Unless you’ve been there, you just don’t get it.  How could you?}

In Darkness Visible, one of the most authentic books I’ve ever read on depression, William Styron said, “The pain of severe depression is quite unimaginable to those who have not suffered it, and it kills in many instances because its anguish can no longer be borne.  The prevention of many suicides will continue to be hindered until there is a general awareness of the nature of this pain.”

It’s a REAL sacrifice to love a depressed person well, especially when the fog remains with no sign of dissipating.

The best way to do that?  Don’t give up on them.  They’re worth it.

RW-People who make you feel alone quote

And chances are, they’ll come through and find their real selves again.

While they may appear like this on the outside…

Robin Williams laughing

It might look a lot more like this on the inside…

Robin Williams pensive 2

People are great at wearing masks.  Depressed people have it down to a science.

So what can you do?  Share this message.  Retweet it.  Post it on your Facebook page.

Spread the word that depression is a bear ~ but it doesn’t have to win.


To quote his most famous line from Good Will Hunting, here’s what I’d say to Robin Williams…. “It’s not your fault.  It’s not your fault.  It’s not your fault.”

Was it selfish?  Yes.  Did it impact many lives?  Of course.  Was it his fault?  No.

To me, apart from faith, the most important gifts we’re given are relationships.  And they don’t always come easy.

In Dead Poets Society ~ one of my all-time favorites ~ Williams’ character, John Keating, says,

“But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.

To quote from Whitman, “Oh me!  Oh life!…

of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless…

of cities filled with the foolish;

what good amid these, Oh me, Oh life?


That you are here ~ that life exists, and identity;

that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse

That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.

What will your verse be?”

Time is short.

Carpe Diem ~ seize the day.

We’re still here.

We have a voice.

How will your voice lift others?

Claire Signature

5 comments on “Robin Williams: “What Will Your Verse Be?”

  1. Claire,
    This was so elegantly put, so personal and so touching. Thank you for posting this. We will share it with others too.
    lots of love,
    Bill and Kitty


  2. Depression has plagued me since a child.I never felt happy, just struggled to be normal, always knowing life should be better.As I aged and made one bad decision after another, I realized , I was a people pleaser.I lost whatever confidence I might have had.I never felt worthy.I have suffered severe anxiety and couldn’t leave my house,much less talk to anyone.My battle load is lighter and I no longer plan my death.I stand as a fighter, always knowing what is lurking around the corner.Our sweet Robin was too tired to continue his battle.


    • Judith,

      I’m so glad that you commented and am proud of your honesty. I’m relieved to hear that life is lighter and you’re finding your joy. I love hearing from people who have faced their fears and now stand as a support for others. You are MORE than worthy – independent of others’ opinions! You’re not only a fighter, but an inspiration for me and others!

      I’ve never written a post with such a widespread response. Clearly, so many can relate to this topic, and hopefully his passing will invite others to share their own stories.



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